ROBERTO DI MATTEO has insisted he wants Frank Lampard to see out his career with Chelsea despite rationing the midfielder’s game time.
LAMPARD looks certain to play from the off in tonight’s Champions League clash against Nordsjaelland in Denmark after failing to start the Blues’ last three matches.
His omission for those games has fuelled speculation about whether the final year of the 34-year-old’s current contract will herald the end of his glittering Stamford Bridge career.
But manager Di Matteo said: “Frank is still a key player and very important for us. He’s been so successful with this club and I hope he stays for the rest of his career with us. Frank is an intelligent man and I have a very good relationship with him.
“We talk and, as much as nobody likes to be on the bench and being disappointed at not playing, I hope he understands. His attitude has shown he supports the team and that’s very important.”
Communication and a winning run are the two main reasons why Lampard appears to have reluctantly accepted his lot under Di Matteo, having fallen out with the Italian’s predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas. Di Matteo said: “We had conversations at the back end of last season, given the amount of games that we were playing, and I tried to get the best out of him by not playing him in all the games, just to make sure he could be ready for the matches he did play.
“This year, it looks the same. We have so many games to play and playing every three days is difficult for any player. It’s just like that.
“I have been trying to do it with everybody but it’s been a question of where we have options and making sure we always have energetic and dynamic performances. It’s done on a game-by-game basis, always looking at the balance of the team.”
Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, has hailed Ashley Cole as “the best left-back in the world” amid renewed reports linking the Chelsea star with a move to Paris St Germain.
PSG boss Ancelotti, who managed Cole for two years at Stamford Bridge,
insisted rumours his big-spending side were interested in signing top players was “normal”.
England defender Cole is in the final year of his Chelsea contract and there are suggestions he is struggling to reach an agreement over an extension.
There would be no shortage of suitors for the 31-year-old were he to quit the European champions and asked about reports PSG would be one of them, Ancelotti said: “This is normal because a lot of players are linked with Paris St Germain in the market.
“Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the world at the moment.”